Governance in Barbados
Submitted by Paula Sealy
We last had as many as 4000 students write the 11+ in 2003. Therefore it is possible that there are actually fewer students in the education system today than 10 or 15 years ago. However while some primary and secondary schools are overcrowded others remain below capacity.
The 2010 National Advisory Committee on Education (NACE) report addresses the subject of the size and layout of public schools. The NACE remains part and parcel of the Education Act, under section 6, and the functions of the Advisory Board are outlined in section 14 of the Education Regulations.
Under the current administration, instead of convening the Advisory Board or Committee, we have been presented with an Education Reform Unit because the prevailing conditions must be thoroughly investigated. This may suggest some measure of inconsistency in matters of governance.
As was recommended by the Waterman Commission in 2012 – and highlighted as one of the three main recommendations by PM Stuart in August of that year – there is a need for the managerial reorganisation of the education ministry. Another of Waterman’s recommendation, which Stuart highlighted was to amend the Education Regulations (1982) and Act (1983).
Instead of investing in further evaluation and the implementation of these recommendations, the last administration dragged its feet despite its admirable investment in the NACE, Waterman Commission etc.
Regarding the inconsistencies of the present administration in matters of governance, unlike the affairs of education, where the transition to a republic is concerned we are to be content with embracing the 1979 Cox report and the 1998 Forde report. The reports of the NACE and Waterman Commission, though of a much more recent vintage, are trumped by the mandate of the Reform Unit to investigate the status quo.
We are clearly under a culture of government which gravitates towards dysfunction, duplication and wastage regardless of which political party forms the government of Barbados.